Crook Town were the visitors to Sam Smith’s Park for today’s Northern League fixture, both teams were mid table so a pretty even game was expected. Play was even with no shots in the first seven minutes but things changed in the eighth when a fine Benfield move saw a pass from Dennis Knight controlled by Layton Watts, who switched the ball to Paul Brayson. The Benfield striker controlled the ball well to shoot at goal, but a fine block by Crook’s Keiron Carnaby denied Benfield the opening goal of the game.
It didn’t take long however for the opening goal to arrive, and it went to Newcastle Benfield in the 11th minute, a corner on the left wing found the far post with DENNIS KNIGHT climbing high to head the ball home for the first goal of the game, making the score 1-0 to Newcastle Benfield.
Two minutes later Crook wasted a good shooting opportunity when they were awarded a free kick just outside the Benfield penalty area, but poor distribution saw it wasted.
Apart from the goal, nothing amazing had occurred in the first fifteen minutes but it was the visitors who were denied by a brilliant save from Benfield keeper Alfie Gordon against Crook striker Steven Johnson, tipping the ball out for a corner which came to nothing.
Benfield should have doubled the score and it would have been a double also for goal scorer Dennis Knight, but he hit the ball high and wide. Benfield were then guilty on the half hour mark of not shooting at goal after creating space to get their shot away. Benfield then got two successive shooting chances but neither opening saw a shot given.
Thirty one minutes had trundled by when a cross from Layton Watts found the head of the Benfield centre forward Paul Brayson, with his effort bringing another fine save from Charlie Lamb in the Crook goal. The Crook keeper then was in action again when successive corners went the way of Benfield.
The game was getting a little feisty and yellow cards were issued to Crook’s Joe Lamb and Benfield’s Brad Varga. Play had moved on to the 39th minute when a corner to Benfield went past the far post to find Paul Brayson, who laid the ball off to Dennis Knight who again vollied the ball over the Crook Town crossbar.
With five minutes of the half left, Crook should have got an equalising goal, a fluid three man move saw Crook’s Joe Lamb in a one on one situation with the Benfield keeper Alfie Gordon, but as he shot at goal Brad Varga managed to deflect the ball for a corner. From the corner it should have been 1-1 but Crook’s centre half Alex Walker headed over the Benfield crossbar.
Time in the first half was running out when a strong counter attack by Crook after a Benfield corner saw a wasted attack end with a goal kick to Benfield, leaving the half time score at 1-0.
The second half had just got underway and both teams had good efforts on goal, firstly a long cross by Dennis Knight found Paul Brayson, who then played in Ben Dibb-Fuller, who hit a good strike that was well saved by Crook keeper Charlie Lamb. It was then the turn of the visitors to come close to getting a goal when Crook were awarded a free kick 25 yards out in the centre of the pitch, up stepped Steven Johnson to crash a shot inches wide of the Benfield goal, much to the home team’s relief.
Play then ebbed and flowed without either team giving any concern to the two goalkeepers but Crook came close when desperate defending by Benfield saw them eventually clear a cross from Crook’s Keiron Carnaby.
There was then a delay in the match after the referee sent off Crook’s Jack Winstanley for spitting in an opponent’s face, enforcing a break in play. The break seemed to be of better preference for the visitors, as within three minutes in the 71st minute they got an equalising goal, when a through ball found their captain CHRIS MOODY in a one on one with the Benfield keeper, and he confidently advanced forward to go around Alfie Gordon and a put it away, making the score 1-1.
Another fifteen minutes had passed by when another goal was scored and it again went to the home team, a fine thru ball from Brad Varga found Dibb-Fuller, who advanced forward down the line to drive the ball into the penalty area with EDDIE THOMAS providing a confident finish, making the score 2-1 to Newcastle Benfield. Six minutes of added time had passed when Benfield should have added to their tally, when an easy chance after a cross into the Crook six yard box was put over the Crook crossbar by Layton Watts. Benfield soon added a third goal to their tally when a pass from Ben Dibb-Fuller found substitute ARCHIE LEONARD, who went past three defenders before planting the ball into the Crook goal, making the score 3-1. It should have been four to Benfield in the 9th minute of added on time, when a cross from the right wing was dummied by Eddie Thomas leaving Lewis Leech a free shot at goal, but he hit his shot straight at the Crook goalkeeper Charlie Lamb, leaving the score at 3-1 to Newcastle Benfield.